Every day, engineers are asked to advise building owners and managers on strategic decisions involving the life-cycle and functionally of buildings. In the past, lack of valid data has left engineers without a solid basis for making these decisions.
A new, free, online database from the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) provides engineers with equipment service life and annual maintenance costs for a variety of building types and HVAC systems. The database can be accessed at (www.ashrae.org/database
Containing more than 300 building types and more than 38,000 pieces of equipment with service life data, the database allows users to access up-to-date information to determine a range of statistical values for equipment owning and operating costs. With this database, ASHRAE is providing the necessary methods and information to assist in using life-cycle analysis techniques to help select the most appropriate HVAC system for a specific application.
"Life-cycle evaluations provide the most effective method for determining the best value of HVAC system alternatives," says Lynn Bellenger, chair of ASHRAE's technology council. "In order to facilitate the use of life-cycle analysis techniques by decision makers, the necessary data must be available, current, and correctly applied. This database provides that needed data."
As part of the project, users are encouraged to contribute their own service life and maintenance cost data, further expanding the utility of this tool. Over a period of time, this input will provide sufficient service life and maintenance cost data to allow the comparative analysis of many different HVAC systems types in a broad variety of applications. Data can be entered by logging into the database and registering, which is free.
Information from the database also is used to update the ASHRAE Handbook
. Chapter 36, Owning and Operating Costs, HVAC Applications
, contains median equipment service life data from the first 163 commercial buildings that were used to seed the database, with updates to come as the database grows.
ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is an international organization of 50,000 persons. ASHRAE fulfills its mission of advancing heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world through research, standards writing, publishing, and continuing education.